When it comes to designing cannabis manufacturing laboratories, efficiency is key. The layout of your facility and its safety procedures can make or break an operation- That’s why you need Varin Science on your side! We take the guesswork out of designing and building your cannabis manufacturing operation. Our team of experts will help you create a lab that is efficient and safe, so you can focus on what is important, growing your business!
The design and planning of a cannabis lab is not “one size fits all.” It will vary depending on functions, products and expectations you desire. You will need to consider electrical, HVAC, building envelope parameters in conjunction with code and safety compliance.
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Jack Herer Lab, Santa Cruz, California
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Undisclosed client, Jamaica
Five Tips to Consider When Building a Cannabis Laboratory
Assuming that you’ve optimized your cannabis testing equipment layout and lab flow for maximum efficiency, we offer several other often overlooked aspects to consider when designing your cannabis lab:
Hide the Vacuum Pumps
Vacuum pumps used on rotary evaporators, distillation equipment, and other solvent recovery systems can be loud and noisy, adding unnecessary background noise to the lab environment. Do yourself and your staff a favor by locating these on an outside wall or separate mechanical room.
Code Compliance with Flammables
The Fire Department usually has authority here, and they may be one of the last groups involved in the permit review process. If you plan hydrocarbon or ethanol storage, but sure you have enough allowable space to meet your production goals. In the case of ethanol, some jurisdictions may require an outgassing area for spent biomass which may need more space than anticipated, and possibly emissions permit from the air pollution control authority.
The last thing you want to do is work all weekend to relocate equipment to install or reinstall flooring. Epoxy coatings are the most common and durable, but depending on the solvent type and use, a special coating may be required on top of the epoxy for added solvent protection. If you’re planning GMP, there may be other criteria to consider
Correct Electrical Placement & Load
Lab equipment often requires substantial electrical energy to operate. The circuit panel breakers will trip and temporarily interrupt production if electrical loads are exceeded. Hire a competent electrician to estimate the entire electrical load when all equipment is operational. Be sure the electrical requirements (e.g., 110 or 220 volts, single or three phases) match the equipment and locations in your design.
Lab equipment releases considerable waste heat. Unless this equipment is located in a hood or controller air environment (like a C1D1 or C1D2 booth), waste heat can build up considerably and make for a poor work environment. For example, a simple five-ton walk-in freezer generates approximately 244,000 BTU per day of waste heat, requiring about 20 tons in cooling capacity.
Source Heating and Cooling Fluids in Advance: With COVID affecting the supply chain availability of many common industrial fluids, acquisition can be delayed or expensive. Dimethyl silicone, commonly used in heat recirculation devices, is in short supply and may be hard to find and costly. (Contact us if you need some, we have it in stock). Save a lot of money by buying in bulk, such as 55-gallon drums from chemical suppliers instead of overpriced, repackaged fluids from the local grow shop. Finally, be sure to use the equipment manufacturer’s recommended grade to avoid the warranty.